Born out of The Shed’s commitment to act as a platform for NYC-based early-career artists working in a range of artistic disciplines, Open Call selects, fosters, and presents new work. The program showcases a wide, multiborough range of voices, lived experiences, and perspectives, demonstrating the multitude of ways in which artists are working today. It embraces proposals for new works in disciplines including the visual arts, theater, dance, music, performance, spoken word, literary arts, film, fashion, art and technology, social practice, and new media, as well as across multiple and new disciplines.
For The Shed, an early-career artist is one who has not yet received major support to create new work. We define major support as a range of opportunities, from the receipt of substantial institutional funding to presenting and/or producing opportunities at large-scale cultural organizations.
Open Call was initially launched in 2018 and later renewed in 2020 in the face of the unprecedented humanitarian, social, and cultural crisis that the pandemic presented to the cultural sector and in particular to communities of color. For a list of past Open Call artists and more information about their commissions, please visit the main Open Call page.
By decentralizing the curatorial voice within the selection process, which challenges the gatekeeping tendencies common to arts institutions, Open Call realizes The Shed’s civic mission to be truly of, by, and for New York City. As in the two previous iterations, participants for Open Call’s third edition will be selected by more than 50 independent leaders across all artistic fields, including artists, cultural programmers, curators, producers, academics, and members of The Shed’s program team. The selection will take place in summer 2022.
The Shed will support selected projects with a commissioning fee of up to $15,000 of producing stewardship per artist or collective, paid in installments associated with specified milestones. Over the course of the Open Call program, each commission will be produced and designed in collaboration with The Shed’s artistic and production teams, who will work closely with each artist or collective throughout critical moments of the project’s development. This collaboration will include the creation of a customized plan that integrates accessibility into each piece. Additionally, in-kind presenting support managed by The Shed will go toward the implementation and installation of the work on-site, including artistic and production support outlined in detail on the application.
The selected projects will be presented between the summers 2023 and 2024 in various spaces at The Shed, including our outdoor Plaza and one of our galleries as part of a group exhibition in 2023 and the Overlook and The Griffin Theater in 2024. All tickets to Open Call will be offered to the public for free. Along with the points of access created for each piece, these free tickets make the program accessible, welcoming, and inviting for all New Yorkers.